German finance minister: 'It's in our own interests to have strong financial centre in London'

LONDON — Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who has previously vowed to take a tough line during Brexit negotiations, says it is in Europe’s interest that London remains a “strong” financial centre after it leaves the EU, the BBC reports.

Speaking at the Institute of International Finance (IIF) Conference in Frankfurt on Thursday, he said: “I am convinced that for Europe as a whole — and I’m not sure this will be very beloved in Paris — it’s in our own interests to have strong financial centre in London.”

He touted Frankfurt as a potential alternative for international banks after Brexit but said that he favoured a deal for Britain in which the City of London kept a key role.

The position represents a softening for Schäuble, who has previously suggested he would be harsh on Britain in Brexit negotiations. He warned in February that EU member states “have to avoid that the British example will be followed by other member states,” although he added that “the financial centre of London will remain and be important to the EU economy as a whole.”

“We have to negotiate,” he added. “[But] my feeling is that people in the British government are only realising what Brexit means [now].”

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